ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Grammy Award-winning flutist Molly Barth keeps returning to Chatter Sunday because of the crowd.
Sunday’s concert marks her third turn at Albuquerque’s chamber music nexus.
“I think the audience is very dedicated; they come week after week and they’re game for whatever repertoire is thrown at them,” she said in a telephone interview from Nashville, Tenn., where she teaches flute at Vanderbilt University’s Blair School of Music.
Sunday’s program at the Las Puertas Event Center includes music by Brahms, Paganini and the living composers Fredric Rzewski and Zhou Tian.
Brahms originally wrote his Sonata in F minor in 1894 for clarinet, later transcribing separate versions for viola and violin. It was one of the last chamber pieces Brahms wrote before his death. Music scholars consider it one of the great masterpieces of the repertoire.
Barth transcribed the work for flute after hearing a version by the Swiss flutist Emmanuel Pahud.
“It works well in the flute,” she said. “I decided to tinker with the violin transcription and make it my own.”
The pianist and composer Rzewski’s lighthearted “Toodle-oo for two piccolos” follows.
“I asked him to write me a flute duet and he wrote me a piccolo duet,” Barth said. “It’s not very serious.”
“Viaje” (trip) was written for flute and string quartet by the Grammy Award-nominated Chinese American composer Zhou Tian
“It’s eight minutes long and it’s very energetic and ebullient,” Barth said. “I think it’s a wonderful piece of contemporary music the audience will enjoy.”
The Paganini is the composer’s Caprice No. 18 for two flutes. Barth will be joined by Chatter flutist Jesse Tatum. The piece was originally written for solo violin.
“I took the liberty of making it into a flute duet,” Barth said. “The beginning and end of the piece capitalizes on my extended technique prowess. Paganini is known for being a fairly adventurous composer for his day.”
As a founding member of the new music sextet Eighth Blackbird, Barth won the 2007 “Best Chamber Music Performance” Grammy Award, recorded with Cedille Records, and was granted the 2000 Naumburg Chamber Music Award and first prize at the 1998 Concert Artists Guild Competition.
Throughout May, Chatter performances are pay-what-you-wish from $1-$25, thanks to support from the city.